Google is releasing its own Facebook-like news feed for iOS and Android on Wednesday. The service, dubbed Google Feed, will contain a string of customized articles, videos and other content.
It’s all about keeping users aware
Google already launched the basic version of the feed in December, which displays content a user might be interested in, and on Wednesday, it is releasing an update.
“Since introducing the feed in December, we’ve advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to you,” the company said in a blog post.
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The content shown in the feed is based on the user’s search results. Google has also included a “follow” button so that a user can save their favorite personalities, series or events.
Google’s Vice President of Engineering Shashi Khakur said the feature is all about keeping the user aware, even when they are not searching for anything. Khakur gave an example of a user interested in Spider-Man, saying the feed not only gets him the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer but also the showtimes for the movie in nearby theaters.
Google plans more interesting features for feed
For starters, Google Feed will be available on the main mobile search app, but eventually, it will be made available through browsers and the Google.com page, according to Ben Gomes, Google’s vice president of engineering. Users of the company’s Pixel handsets can access the Feed through the Pixel Launcher by swiping to the right from the home screen.
Google is also looking to add more interesting features to the feed in the coming months. One of the upcoming features is “New-to-you,” which will show older links in the news feed.
Now with Feed coming in, the Google Now brand will be discarded, and the updates that it offered will be moved to a secondary tab called “updates.” The main space below the search bar will now show cards related to your interests, notes The Verge.
How Google Feed is different from others
It is only obvious to draw a comparison between Google Feed and the Facebook News Feed, which one can search for update from friends, family and various other sources. The search engine giant, however, maintains that Google Feed is unlike the Facebook News Feed, and the whole idea behind upgrading the feed is to create another stream of relevant search results, notes Reuters.
Greg Sterling, a U.S. search engine analyst, told the Financial Times that the feed will revolve around the user’s interests, unlike other feeds, which show what their friends are interested in.
“It’s about learning something and taking it a step further… It’s built on search. All the things we do in search will carry over,” the expert said.
In the past few months, Facebook has been blamed for being an echo chamber and promoting news from unreliable sources. Even though Google Feed is highly customizable, it may not completely address the chamber echo issue, notes Engadget. Google, however, looks prepared for that, as users will be able to fact check information from different sources, giving them “a more holistic understanding about a story,” the company said.